Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review

Full res downloads and more in the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review.

It’s not often I get this excited about a new camera or really any camera any more. For me the Lumix GH3 really hit the sweet spot and the with the Lumix GH4 Panasonic inched even closer to making the perfect camera for my needs. The GH4 is comfortable, fast, easy to use, 4K video and killer still images but (and this is minor) if I’m not working on a shoot I don’t like to carry or change lenses and with the GH4 its a must.

Yes I agree, I’ve been spoiled with the GH4 and complaining that I have to carry a few tiny lenses around with me is not a deal breaker by any stretch but when I want to be chill I want to be chill and this is were they FZ1000 shines.

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review

When I was given the chance to play with the FZ1000 months ago I passed. I never really cared for the all-in-one cameras before. My experience with bridge cameras was that they are slow and the image quality was nothing special. When I did get the FZ1000 in I fell in love in about 5 minutes and at this point I kinda don’t want to give it back. I have many, many uses for this camera and it’s become the camera I reach for daily which is saying a lot. Keep in mind that I have the entire portfolio of Lumix bodies and they are all stellar in their own way but they are also specialized as well. Need a small, powerful beauty – the Lumix GM1. When I want something with more control than the GM1 I grab the GX7, when I need a multimedia hybrid powerhaus I grab the GH3 and if I want the same thing but something really light I grab the G6. My GH4 is my work camera but I do use it for fun sometimes. Most of the time though I just want to get outside and live a bit and I kinda get locked up. My cameras and glass are a big part of my daily routine, like putting on shoes, I need the right camera for what I have in mind but it’s the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 that really does it all and does it surprisingly well.

The Beauty in the Beast

Like I mentioned above it took me about 5 minutes to love the Lumix FZ1000. Operationally it’s like every other Lumix G menu, the button layout and grip are very similar to the GH4/G6 and the LVF is very similar to the GH4. The FZ1000 even sports a flip out screen minus the touch capabilities which is a bummer. Because of my familiarity of the Lumix G system I was shooting fast, easy and with the beast of a lens I had everything I need and that’s beautiful.

Body Size

For someone that loves small cameras the FZ1000 is huge. It’s not really huge but it’s slightly bigger than the GH4 with a 12-35mm lens on it. That’s still small and when you factor in the zoom power of the lens, the comfort of the camera and ease of use the size goes away. Also consider the camera is light weight and uses the same batteries as the G5/G6 and size don’t matter much any more.

FZ1000 vs GH4

You read correctly – the batteries that the FZ1000 use is the same as the Lumix G5/G6 models meaning that they are available and low cost. The camera designers did us a favor here, I purchased some after market batteries online for cheep as a backup to my Panasonic branded ones.

Click here to check prices on batteries at Amazon.

The Lens

The lens is an 16X zoom which is equal to a 25-400mm lens on a 35mm sensor or a 12-200mm on a M43 sensor. The F-stop does vary a bit from f/2.8 at the wide end to f/4.0 at the telephoto end. Not surprising this is not an ideal pick for low light. If the lens was a straight f/2.8 it was be quite large, heavy and expensive which would not make sense for this type of camera but for an all-in-one camera its a good fit.

Download the original 4K video at https://vimeo.com/100463094

The lens can be zoomed wither with the focus/zoom ring (which is user selectable) or with a rocker switch around the shutter release which I prefer. Having the zoom control around the shutter release means I can use the camera with one hand. This is a feature that will be invaluable to anyone that has their hands full – say a parent or someone on vacation. Sure you’ll be better able to control and keep stable the camera with two hands but in the event you are only able to use one hand, the zoom paired up with the excellent optical image stabilization will make shooting easy.

The zoom is fitted for 62mm filters which is a welcome addition and a money saver. If you have multiple lenses you most likely need to have multiple filters but having to only buy one filter size further emphasizes this is a camera for fun and easy shooting.

My only complaint of the lens is the zoom motor. If you are recording video while you zoom the sound will be picked up by the on board mic.

Although the issue of motor noise is not a deal breaker its something you should be aware of. An easy solution is to use an external mic but that’s not something most will purchase. An external mic is something recommended if you’re going to be more serious to shoot video and it’s an easy accessory to add on. Simply add the mic on the hot shoe and plug it in. The FZ1000 will do the rest.

Download the original 4K video at https://vimeo.com/100463096

Image Quality

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 uses a 1″ sensor which while smaller than Micro 4/3 it’s much larger than previous bridge cameras. Smaller sensors means more digital grain for low light shooting but in testing I didn’t see anything in the image quality that I had issue with. I can still shoot RAW+JPEG and I get all the in camera processing of the GH4 including in camera RAW processing which is a life saver when you need it. Need to quickly share a photo you shot on safari but it’s in RAW? Quickly process it in camera, WiFi to your smart phone and share away.

Download the original 4K video at https://vimeo.com/100463095

I don’t have anything bad to say about the IQ of this camera. It’s solid. No, it’s not going to be a GH4 but it’s image quality solid.

Click to download full res
Click to download full res
Click to download full res
Click to download full res
Click to download full res
Click to download full res

What’s In and What’s Missing

The FZ1000 is feature packed to say the least. All of the core functionality of the Lumix GH4 is in the FZ1000 and what’s missing, in my opinion, is not a deal breaker. Below is a list of what stood out and what’s not.

Notable Features

Like I had mentioned before the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 has the majority of features of the GH4 and in my eyes it has the most important elements of that superb photographic instrument such as –

  • 16X Leica Lens
  • Built in WiFi with NFC for Android
  • In Camera RAW Processing
  • Cinelike V and Cinelike D Photostyles
  • Blazing fast DFD Autofocus
  • Wireless Flash Control

What’s Missing from the FZ1000

Not much is missing from the FZ1000 but there’s always room for improvement. The one thing that I’m not fond of at all, and this goes for the GH4, is that the photostyles in the dedicated movie mode do not match up to the photostyles in still capture modes. In the dedicated movie mode of the FZ1000 there are the extra Cinelike D and Cinelike V photostyles yet they are not available in still capture modes. Example – if capturing video in Cinelike D and you decide that you would like to use the full resolution of the sensor for capturing still photos you would need to be in a dedicated still photo mode but because Cinelike D and Cinelike V are not available in dedicated still capture modes the FZ1000 defaults to the Standard Photostyle. Granted, if you are shooting RAW stills then they won’t be the same either but in the event that you need full resolution still images to go with your beautiful 4K video you’re out of luck. While this issue is something that will not bother 95% of photographers, if you some continuity in the look of your still and video captures you’ll need to find a work around.

Nothing that I find missing in the FZ1000 is a deal breaker for me. Rather, I look at these missing features and ask myself would I be willing to spend an extra $300 or so to have them in and the answer is no.

  • Metal body. The FZ1000 body is made from polycarbonate.
  • Off centered tripod socket
  • No headphone out
  • 4K limited to 30P
  • No touch screen
  • Photostyles in video capture do not match up with still capture (like the GH4)
  • 4K video not available in Creative Control filters (like the GH4)

Overall Value

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is packed with features that the majority of photographers want and more. With solid image quality, loads of multimedia features and a beast of a lens and aggressively prices at $900.00 the FZ1000 will be hard to beat. Being able set up the FZ1000 on a tripod, control the entire camera including zoom from my iPhone then WiFi the stills and video (can’t WiFi 4K, too big) gets me super excited. I’ve been using the FZ1000 as my daily camera for everything I do and have been loving it to the max so much so that if I had to choose between the Fz1000 and the GH4…well don’t make me choose.

Panasonic has been on a roll ever since the GH3. They saw an opportunity in the marketplace and have gone all out to provide very high value for the money and they did it again with the FZ1000. While it’s not a perfect camera it’s very, very well designed and I pain and sending it back.

I anticipate this to be another hot seller and if you plan on going on vacation this would be a sweet camera to take. The idea of being in Tuscany with a glass of vino in one hand and the FZ1000 in the other, snapping away in glorious full res + 4K video with ease…ah I need a vacation. :-)

Please support Small Camera Big Picture by purchasing your Lumix FZ1000 and other gear through our Amazon affiliate links


This review is not intended to be in depth, there will be plenty of reviewers online who will dig in deep and who’s reviews will take more time to absorb. Think of my review as a casual, user report for someone that documented his experience. My advice is to enjoy a mix of casual reviews, in depth-technical reviews before you make your decision.

GH4 First Look – Full Res ISO, 4K Downloads

When it comes time for me to make my bread and butter with hybrid photography, my tool, up to this point, has been the GH3. I love this camera – it’s small, weather resistant, fast, and the image quality is spectacular. Everything about it is great. Because I shoot a lot of video and blend my video with stills into hybrid projects, I would really like higher quality video. Luckily, the new Lumix GH4 offers 4K video as well as spectacular image quality.

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The GH4 and GH3 side by side.

Similarities to the GH3

If you have the GH3, or if you have another Lumix camera, shooting with the GH4 is going to be very straight forward. When you have it in your hands it you know you’re holding something that is designed for a working photographer. As you can tell, the GH4 is very similar to the GH3. The nice thing about them being so similar is the batteries are the same, the chargers are the same, and all of your accessories for the GH3 will work with the GH4. The one exception is the new GH4 has a micro HDMI port, instead of the mini HDMI port.

gh4 vs gh3 4

4K Video

The main difference, of course, is going to be the 4K video. 4K video has to be the coolest feature of the GH4. And it’s a feature that benefits still photographers, film makers, videographers, and hybrid photographers such as myself. We are shooting 1080 x 1920 with the GH3 which is roughly a little less than 2K video – every frame of video is roughly 2 megapixels. Now we’re looking at almost 9 mega pixels per frame. Which means if you take good quality video, which is very easy with the GH4, you can pull stills in lightroom. That is the coolest advancement I’ve seen in a camera like this in a long time. Also, being able to shoot very high quality slow motion video is very handy when shooting animated portraits.

gh4 vs gh3 frame grab
GH3 vs GH4 video stills
GH4 4K Pull Frame Kaiman
GH4 4K Pull Frame | Firmware 0.1 | Click to download

Other Notable Features

  • Larger control dial
  • Weatherproofed, tight card door
  • Speed and responsiveness
  • Fast autofocus system
  • Face detection autofocus
  • Built in photostyles
  • Slow motion video
  • Live view
gh4 vs gh3 1
Live view in manual video mode

Stuff like uncompressed video out at 422 is nice, being able to design your own auto focus regions on your screen is also awesome, and extremely fast autofocus with continuous face detection is also handy. There are a ton of other features in this camera that we will be digging into as soon as I get the final version, hopefully soon.

ISO 2500 SOOC JPEG | Firmware 0.1
ISO 2500 SOOC JPEG | Firmware 0.1 | Click to download

 

You can support Small Camera Big Picture by ordering the Lumix GH4 at Amazon.com